Chant: The voice of a child
The Divine Office of Lauds — the office of praise which opens the day at sunrise — begins with a collective prayer of “O Lord, open Thou my lips and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise.” It is a simple recitation which stays on one pitch, dropping a minor 3rd for the last note. This interval has been shown by scientific studies to be one of the first musical sounds to be uttered by children! If you remember the days of playing “hide and go seek,” you too probably sang this interval when shouting at the person trying to find you. Also, if you remember early doorbells, they used these two pitches as did the television commercial which ended “Avon calling!”
I thought of this during this week while talking with people about how to start learning chant. Some of the most often used and profound chants are the simplest. And what a wonderful way to open the office of Lauds — with the “voice” of a child!